I've always wanted to give fencing a try. I got the chance to indulge my curiosity about the craft. I liked it. I liked it a lot. Turns out, it works a lot like I thought it would. Of course my next thoughts after, "Squee, this is so awesome!" were, "This is so going into a story!" What better way to write a good sword fighting scene than to learn to fight with a blade, yes?
Not every writer has the option of taking up a new hobby, or learning a new skill, for the sake of their writing. But we have to build our domain knowledge somehow. Domain knowledge is what an individual knows about the environment, the subject matter, they're working in. If I wanted to create a story in a world where animals used magic, I'd have to understand animal behavior to decide what kind of magic to give the animals as well as how and why they would use their magic.
Thanks to the internet, building domain knowledge is often only a few (thousand) clicks away. This is a two edged sword. Who has ever searched for something only to find themselves deep into a completely unrelated topic hours later?
For the domain knowledge that can't be gleaned from the internet, one has to get creative. How do you build your domain knowledge for your writing?
Samantha Pierce is the author of Voice of The Unheard, a science fiction novel. Available in print at Amazon.com.
I take a general what happens if I do this approach to life. It keeps things interesting.